Valentin Dander: Von der ‚Macht der Daten‘ zur ‚Gemachtheit von Daten‘. Praktische Datenkritik als Gegenstand der Medienpädagogik

In contrast to the approaches used in media studies, data critique in media pedagogy is conceptualized in analogy to competence-based media critique and connected to individual and collective agency. This leads to productive aspects of data critique that emerge alongside its negative-critical orientation. Open Government Data thereby appear as an apt field for experimentation towards the competencies necessary for practical data critique.
(Paper in German | Discussion)

Annika Richterich: Google Trends: Using and Promoting Search Volume Indicators for Research

This paper discusses methodological research developments related to the web service Google Trends. It reflects on the implications of data evaluation based on search engine queries. Recent methodological developments in quantitative research design can be traced back to the establishment of search engines as main gateways to online content. While Google Inc. uses its own received web search queries in order to maintain more specific services, such as the epistemological surveillance platform Google Flu Trends, it also presents excerpts from its databases publicly in Google Trends. The service indicates, for example, how frequently a search-term has been entered in Google, and where this query can be geographically located. Information on actual search volumes is not provided, however. Recent studies have drawn on Google Trends in order to analyse relations between these search volume indications and developments such as stock market moves. What is presented to the public and used in most of these studies, however, are merely surrogates and indicators of the original web search logs and search engine queries, rather than the data itself. Such developments should be seen critically, since the original data are exclusively available to respective media companies and selected scientists. Google Trends is supposed to communicate transparency and openness. As a symbolic gesture, it implies that Google ‘hands back’ parts of the user-generated search engine data to the public. Applications such as Google (Flu) Trends are staged as philanthropic investment, but are only one out of the many data mining possibilities that are based on the users automatically paying their search engine queries with the data they leave behind.
(Paper in German | Discussion)

Florian Püschel: Big Data und die Rückkehr des Positivismus. Zum gesellschaftlichen Umgang mit Daten

In order to develop some sort of provisional Data Critique, it seems necessary to identify the central concerns and issues that such an approach would have to cover. Looking at various stereotypes about „data“ in the public discourse, it becomes clear that a positivist tendency exists that obscures the real causes of the social problems associated with new data technologies. Given the increasing societal impact of Big Data applications, it is also necessary to develop a better vocabulary for describing the different ways in which data is handled. This article proposes that the vocabulary of Niklas Luhmann’s systems theory provides a useful conceptual basis for differentiating between the various ways in which data is recontextualized.

(Paper – in German | Discussion)

Johannes Paßmann und Carolin Gerlitz: ‚Good‘ platform-political reasons for ‚bad‘ platform-data. Zur sozio-technischen Geschichte der Plattformaktivitäten Fav, Retweet und Like

In this article, we explore the relation between platform activities and their usage practices. Taking departure from predefined activities offered by social media platforms, this paper inquires into what may happen if platform features cater to opposing user practices. The paper investigates whether the data they produce can be considered as ‘bad’ platform data, just as Harold Garfinkel conceptualized ‘bad’ clinical records, and does so by engaging with the socio-technical history of Facebook’s Like and Twitter’s retweet and favourite button and their associated cultures of usage.
In a first step, we question popular bottom-up narratives that present platform features as appropriations of emergent user practices, such as in the case of the retweet button. In a second step, we draw on ethnographic research on the German Favstar sphere – a group of popular Twitter amateurs with specific cooperation practices – to trace the divergent and at points even contradictory user practices in the case of the favourite button. In both cases, the politics of data visibility are of central importance, and a third group of actors appears besides the platform and its users, which recombines existing platform data into new contexts according to specific practices of usage for features. Such ‘satellite platforms’, we argue, can provide ‘good’ platform-political reasons for platform activities to produce ‘bad’ data.

Irina Kaldrack und Christian Köhler: Das Datenhandeln – Zur Wissensordnung und Praxeologie des Online-Handels

‘Classical’ media practices were difficult to observe, always requiring external tools and methods. Digital media fundamentally changed this situation. Media use and data production have converged, such that practices basically record themselves. Such practices have become what we call ‘data acting/trading‘. Using the example of online shopping, we discuss how software, interfaces and the  media practices of users and providers interact. Thereby, we show the complex relations between the experiences of users as individuals, their role as prosumers, and their representation as data sets in a digital media environment.

Florian Sprenger: Die Kontingenz des Gegebenen. Zur Zeit der Datenkritik

Critique becomes risky when it is implicit. In a historical perspective and following the etymological roots, the paper conceptualizes different modes of critique and makes their epistemological foundations explicit. The idea of a critique of data was for the first time presented by Agentur Bilwet and Frank Hartmann in the 1990s. Following these traces, the article explores how Michel Foucaults genealogical model of critique can be applied to the objects of data-critique. Consequently, it asks how critique itself can be accomplished by data, how we can judge on the given, and finally, what all this means for media studies.

(Paper – in German | Discussion)

„Was ist Datenkritik?“ – Ausgabe 3.1 / 2014 von „Mediale Kontrolle unter Beobachtung“

Die Beiträge unseres ersten Workshops „Was ist Datenkritik?“ sind veröffentlicht worden! Wir dokumentieren hier das Inhaltsverzeichnis – die Links führen direkt auf die Plattform „Mediale Kontrolle unter Beobachtung„. Als Herausgeber fungierten Marcus Burkhardt und Sebastian Gießmann.

Sebastian Gießmann und Marcus Burkhardt:
Was ist Datenkritik? Zur Einführung (Volltext|Diskussion)

Florian Sprenger:
Die Kontingenz des Gegebenen.
Zur Zeit der Datenkritik

Florian Püschel:
Big Data und die Rückkehr des Positivismus.
Zum gesellschaftlichen Umgang mit Daten

Irina Kaldrack und Christian Köhler:
Das Datenhandeln –
Zur Wissensordnung und Praxeologie des Online-Handels

Annika Richterich:
Google Trends:
Using and Promoting Search Volume Indicators for Research

Johannes Paßmann und Carolin Gerlitz:
‚Good‘ platform-political reasons for ‚bad‘ platform-data.
Zur sozio-technischen Geschichte der Plattformaktivitäten
Fav, Retweet und Like (Volltext|Diskussion)

Valentin Dander:
Von der ‚Macht der Daten‘ zur ‚Gemachtheit von Daten‘.
Praktische Datenkritik als Gegenstand der Medienpädagogik

Alle Beiträge dieser Ausgabe sind unter CC-BY-SA veröffentlicht.

Die Herausgeber danken allen Autorinnen, Autoren und Mitdiskutierenden des Workshops, ohne die diese Veröffentlichung nicht möglich gewesen wäre. Stephan Packard sei herzlich für seine Bereitschaft gedankt, die Artikel auf der Freiburger Plattform Mediale Kontrolle unter Beobachtung zu publizieren. Die Gesellschaft für Medienwissenschaft, die AG Medien der Kooperation (Siegen) und das Hybrid Publishing Lab (Lüneburg) haben das Projekt finanziell unterstützt, wofür wir ebenfalls herzlich danken. Das Lektorat der Beiträge haben Die Lektorinnen Dr. Alke Dohrmann und Dr. Katrin Schöne mit viel Feingefühl für die Anforderungen einer Online-Publikation besorgt.

Das Editorial Board der Medialen Kontrolle unter Beobachtung dankt den Herausgebern und allen Beiträgerinnen und Beiträger sehr herzlich. Wir danken ebenso Helga Göhring-Schneider und Paula Szedlak für die sorgfältige Unterstützung der Endredaktion.

Open Access: Theo Röhle: Der Google-Komplex

Auf der AG-Sitzung auf der GfM-Jahrestagung hatte ich ja schon angekündigt, dass ich den Blog auch als einen Ort dafür ansehe, regelmäßig auf medien- und netzwissenschaftliche Publikationen hinzuweisen, die als Open Access verfügbar sind.

Den Anfang macht, wie könnte es anders sein: Theo Röhle: Der Google-Komplex. Über Macht im Zeitalter des Internets. transcript: Bielefeld 2010.


Craig Dalton und Jim Thatcher zu „critical data studies“

Die datenkritischen Wortmeldungen werden lauter: Auch die Geografie setzt sich als großdatenverarbeitende Disziplin mit ihren neuesten Medienpraktiken auseinander, wie man am Craig Daltons und Jim Thatchers bei „Society and Space“ erfolgter Intervention erlesen kann. What does a critical data studies look like, and why do we care? Seven points for a critical approach to ‘big data’ benennt die Agenda nach einem siebenfachen Anlauf wie folgt:

  • „What historical conditions lead to the realization of ‘big data’ such as it is? (Barnes and Wilson, forthcoming; Dalton 2013)
  • Who controls ‘big data,’ its production and its analysis? What motives and imperatives drive their work? (Thatcher 2014)
  • Who are the subjects of ‘big data’ and what knowledges are they producing? (Haklay 2012)
  • How is ‘big data’ actually applied in the production of spaces, places and landscapes? (Kitchin and Dodge 2011)
  • What is to be done with ‘big data’ and what other kinds of knowledges could it help produce? (Shah 2014)“

Unsere eigenen Beiträge zum Thema erscheinen dieser Tage auf und sind stärker entlang von Medienpraktiken gelagert: Die Obsession hinsichtlich großer Daten, die die Geografen sichtlich plagt, ist für die Medienwissenschaft schon jetzt weniger idée fixe denn kultur- und sozialwissenschaftlicher Gegenstand.

Die Wahrheit über das IPAD – Lori Emerson über „andere Netzwerke“

Lori Emerson hat einen schönen kleinen Blogpost über die Geschichte des Internetworkings geschrieben, drüben im Blog der University of Minnesota Press. Es geht um alte Bulletin Board Systeme (BBS) und vor allem The Thing, begründet im Jahr 1991. In diesem Kontext geht es dann auch um das erste „IPAD“, aber dieses Stück Netzwerkarchäologie liest man dann am besten im Original.

Und es ist noch mehr zu erwarten. Lori Emerson schreibt:

The first part of the OTHER NETWORKS project I’ve been focusing most on is titled „50 Years of Other Networks, 2015-1965“ and is in the lineage of a few critical-creative hybrid media studies books. „50 Years of Other Networks,“ then, will be a catalogue of networks existing outside of or pre-dating the Internet. Consisting of a stack of unbound, loose sheets of paper packaged in a box, each sheet—beginning with the present and moving back into the past—will provide metadata of a sort, a description, and short analysis of an „other“ network so that the material form of the project allows readers to actively dig through a network archaeology.